On the 31st March, Matt Gregor, a teacher at Bladon Primary School, will don his triathlon kit for the first time to support Oxfordshire Youth, and their campaign to help people understand the importance and impact of mental health awareness in children and young people.
In 2015, Matt sadly lost his Mother to leukaemia, and, like many others finding themselves in an intense pressured situation, struggled to cope some days, not knowing who to turn to, where to get support or information on how to deal with the situation.
“Once I had learned to open up and talk to people about my emotions, and how I felt, it was like a massive weight lifted of my shoulders. As a child I was never taught how to deal with emotions or even have the tools to deal with stressful life situations.
I feel if we can encourage children to talk and open up about their own emotions and how to deal with the constant pressure of everyday life, exams, social media, we can aim to lower the rate of anxiety, depression we are starting to see in children at such a young age. As a teacher I’ve become increasingly aware of the pressures that younger and younger children are finding themselves under.
I want to use my own experience to help bring a brighter future for the support of children’s mental health and wellbeing. That’s why I am launching my fundraising campaign to raise money to support Oxfordshire Youth. I am going to challenge myself not only physically but also mentally by taking part in my first ever Triathlon to help raise the money.” Matt Gregor
Oxfordshire Youth’s mental health training enables young people to access mental health support in their community and helps them to build resilience. It also upskills frontline staff & volunteers, and supports them to better understand mental health, including how to recognise and respond to early signs of problems.
A recent survey by Action for Children found that 1 in 3 young people were struggling with their mental and emotional well-being. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health predict a 63% increase in young people’s mental health problems by 2030 if current trends continue. In 2016 we undertook research titled ‘‘Increasing Impact in the Oxfordshire Youth Sector” in partnership with Oxford City, and Student Hubs, to look at how we, and the wider sector, could identify and respond more effectively to young people’s needs. It showed that young people in Oxfordshire are struggling with a wide range of mental health and well-being issues such as:
- Primary schools reaching a mental health crisis point
- Feeling increasingly isolated
- Experiencing bullying more often in schools
- Smoking, drinking & taking drugs at an earlier age
- Feeling unsafe in their communities & online
Our training programme helps staff and volunteers to identify and address mental health issues in young people, at an early stage, before mental health problems escalate, and more intense intervention is needed.
Thanks to Matt for helping us to help young people throughout the county affected.
You can donate to Matt’s efforts by visiting his Just Giving page.